WPP halts Russian operations as it ‘condemns’ invasion of Ukraine | Advertising

WPP announced it was closing its operations in Russia due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, a move that will affect its nearly 1,400 employees.

WPP chief executive Mark Read has written to everyone within the group, explaining his decision and that of the board, saying he “deeply” regrets the impact the closure would have on the workforce. Russian work.

The world’s largest advertising group said it stood with Ukraine, “condemning the Russian invasion, which has created a humanitarian crisis in the heart of Europe”.

The board concluded that its continued presence in Russia would be “inconsistent with our values ​​as a company” and “disrupts our operations”.

The advertising group thanked the “nearly 1,400” people in Russia who have proven to be “dedicated and valued members” of the agency and its clients.

Read’s email continued: “We will work with our employees, customers and partners to explore all options, including transfer of ownership and divestment, and will provide additional and enhanced financial support to anyone who loses his job as a result of this decision. Local agency leaders are discussing next steps directly with their teams.”

Meanwhile, WPP commended the 200 people it employs in Ukraine, who it says have shown extraordinary resilience and bravery in the face of the horrific attack on their country.”

The company said it was in regular contact with its leaders in the country “to provide financial and other forms of practical assistance to our employees”.

WPP had previously partnered with the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, to appeal for emergency funds to help people who have been forced to flee their homes in Ukraine and neighboring territories.

Read wrote in his email: “I would like to thank the thousands of you who have already donated to the UNHCR appeal set up by Blue State to help people forced to flee fighting in Ukraine. The call remains open and we will continue to match all of your donations.”

Russia generated 0.6% of WPP’s revenue less pass-through costs – around £60m – in 2021.

WPP’s share price has fallen nearly a fifth to £9.25 since February 24, when Russia invaded Ukraine – the same day the company released its annual results – amid fears global economic repercussions of the war.

(This article first appeared on CampaignLive.com)

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